• April 24, 2024

Farm worker abuses alleged

 Farm worker abuses alleged

Leaders of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) reportedly challenged British American Tobacco during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in London last week over what FLOC described as human rights abuses on BAT contract farms.

In a note on its website, FLOC said that BAT, which was planning to pay US$49 billion to acquire the rest of Reynolds American, was asked about its failure ‘to be transparent and take concrete action despite numerous reports detailing human rights abuses’ on its contract farms.

This year was said to have marked the seventh year that FLOC had attended the shareholders meeting.

‘During the 2014 AGM, BAT chairman Richard Burrows claimed that there were no labor or human rights violations in the BAT supply chain,’ the note said.

‘Since then, independent research groups including SwedWatch and Human Rights Watch have published reports detailing serious human rights abuses on BAT contract farms in Bangladesh and Indonesia respectively, echoing what FLOC has been reporting for years from the fields of North Carolina.

‘In BAT’s own corporate audit report, they admitted instances of worker death by heat stroke, workers being sprayed by pesticides, and poor housing conditions, among other issues.’

After the meeting, FLOC leaders were said to have met directly with BAT executives to discuss the issues and ‘real solutions’ in more depth.

But FLOC said that while BAT had stated that it had wanted to work with FLOC to resolve issues in the BAT supply chain, human rights violations would continue until BAT agreed ‘to guarantee freedom of association and implement a practical mechanism that allows farmworkers to denounce abuses and act as their own auditors!’

The note is at: http://www.floc.com/wordpress/floc-speaks-out-against-abuses-in-bat-supply-chain/